Marine/Coastal SDI Best Practices Project

Project Leaders: Dr. Jade Georis-Creuseveau, Prof. dr. Joep Crompvoets


Rapid changes in marine and coastal areas demand implementation of processes and tools to enhance knowledge and management of these territories. To contribute to these goals, Marine and Coastal Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) facilitate sharing and use of spatial data across a broad range of stakeholders by promoting data and metadata harmonization and services interoperability. A favourable context for increasing efficiency in spatial data production and improving availability and accessibility is being put into place to support the international concepts of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and maritime spatial planning (MSP). These concepts and related regulations act as the catalyst for increasing production, access, sharing, use and integration of coastal and maritime geo-information in order to inform IZCM/MSP decision making. The needs for coastal and marine SDIs are becoming a priori evident. Within this context, an assessment of the worldwide developments of existing marine and coastal geoportals of SDIs or similar Web services is required.

Marine/Coastal SDI Best Practices Project

A first international Web survey of National Coastal and Marine geoportals was undertaken in 2014. The purpose of the survey was to identify trends by providing data on the various aspects of marine and coastal geoportals development and issues. The Web survey led to an inventory of 81 national operational geoportals. In order to monitor developments 12 characteristics were measured for each geoportal in November 2014, March 2015 and November 2015. In September 2015, a questionnaire has been sent to the geoportal managers in order to gather managers' feedbacks about the usage of the geoportal in terms of users (e.g. the main geoportal's target, the number of visitors, etc.) and in terms of data (e.g. the most frequently downloaded dataset, the purpose of this dataset for the users, etc.). Based on the preliminary survey results, four types of geoportals can be distinguished: Atlas-like geoportals, (2) Hydrographic Office geoportals, (3) Oceanographic/Marine Data Centre geoportals, and (4) Hybrid geoportals. The preliminary survey results also indicate that geoportals allowing access to a wide range of data related to marine, coastal and land territories are not commonly found. True data harmonisation and services interoperability, which are the underpinning principles for SDIs, need to be improved.

Strategic Areas and Actions

Because of limited resources, this GSDI-project focuses on a selected number of strategic areas, including:


The GSDI Marine/Coastal SDI Best Practices Project deliverables include:


The following targets are set for the Marine/Coastal SDI Best Practices Project:

  1. Update of the former survey throughout the period of this agreement, with benchmark review reports in April 2016, October 2016, April 2017 and October 2017;
  2. Table of Contents about coastal and marine SDIs, as part of the GSDI SDI Cookbook wiki by August 2016;
  3. Webinar establishing the fundamental knowledge about marine and coastal SDIs and targeting decisions makers, employers and researchers by June 2016;
  4. Worldwide overview report of the development of Coastal and Marine geoportals by August 2017;
  5. Chapters coastal and marine SDIs, as part of the GSDI SDI Cookbook wiki by October 2017.

Download the Marine/Coastal SDI portal research papers presented at the CoastGIS 2015 Conference in Cape Town, South Africa here and at the INSPIRE GSW 2015 Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, in May 2015 here.